Better Than Clowns

We were almost clowns for the July 4th, Bailey’s Harbor parade.

I would have been the yellow clown. Katie would have been the blue flowered clown. We both were to wear jumpsuits and sun hats and we considered it ironic that neither of us liked clowns, had ever wanted to interact with a clown, and generally found clowns frightening. I mean clowns in the old-time, Bozo the Clown, sense of the word. Katie would have been Cookie, obviously. Leaving me to be the big-shoed, balloon-panted ring leader. Scary.

It was a close call. Luckily, the night before our big clown début, it was brought to my attention that we’d been had. I’d been told to be a clown, and had not protested. As it turned out, Katie and I  just needed to go upstairs to the costume shop and pull our own outfits. So I woke Katie up at 8 a.m. We rushed to the shop, and I ended up in an Al Johnson’s-eque, Swedish barmaid costume. Katie wore a little blue number with a blue feathered boa.

We convened at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast. Then, we proceeded to hurriedly get into our costumes, assemble the parade materials, and drive to Bailey’s Harbor in time to be in the back of the line, surrounded by floats, giant tractors, and Ms. Door County’s fancy blue corvette with a gang of young admirers.

She was busy explaining that they could not hand out candy, because her platform had been “healthy habits.”

Audi tried not hit any drunk people. That’s the way we celebrate the 4th of July in Bailey’s Harbor. Loads of wasted people stumbling through the streets at 10 a.m. Perhaps passing out on the sidewalk by noon, and waking up again to drink for the fireworks. And children dashing into the street for a Tootsie roll, with parade floats swerving to miss them.

In the van with us, we had the Friedman’s two children, Nama and Nichol, along with Audi’s son, Connor.

Connor and Nichol were on “refill the candy,” petrol. That really meant sit and sort out the candy they were most interested, and give us the Tootsie rolls and peppermints to hand out. Audi often refilled the basket with one hand on the wheel. Nichol passed the newly filled basket to me, after picking out choice pieces for himself (like dots). One for you, two for me. Two for you, four for me…

The Camp David float passed us by. Most of them were either still drunk from the performance the night before, using a cool can of PBR to cure their hangover, or just starting fresh. They looked chill. I wanted to be them.

Nama ran along on my side, also handing out candy. We were stranded somewhere in the middle of the parade, with no one in front and others a long way back. It’s lonely handing out candy without other people around you. Children are extraordinarily needy about the amount of candy they get from lil’ old you. They held out bags and expected you to toss it right in there for them. I felt this was cheating. IN MY DAY, we fought over War Heads and picked up squished Tootsie rolls off the pavement.

Dan Eggert took a photo of me sweating and running to the van for more candy. I’m sure it’ll turn up somewhere embarrassing. When I was not running towards the van, I was running back to grab Nama, who was very diligently handing out candy to every boy, girl, woman and man.

After all that, we had a show. And then strike and change-over. It was very hot. Commence the running in circles.

MONDAY, thank the lord, Colin and I both had the day off. We were terribly disappointed about the rain. We had dreams of kayaking out to Chamber’s Island, and visions of lying on the beach danced in my head.  In fact, we were so convinced the weather would clear that we rode the motorcycle to meet some friends for coffee. It started to rain on our way over to Leroy’s, the water prickling my skin like wet needles. Needless to say, I hitched a ride home in friend’s car, and Colin subjected himself to a very wet return motorcycle ride.

We were both feeling stuck. We decided to go for a short jog on the trails in Pen State park, thinking it wouldn’t be so wet under cover of the forest. But it was. Large puddles formed at intervals  in the trail.  I could hear the smack smack smack of my shoe peeling off the mud and pounding down again, sending spray up my legs. It started to rain harder, to pour, and the rocks and roots became treacherously slippery. Colin seemed oblivious. He was running, elated, his legs kicking up behind him like something out of Napolean Dynomite. I started running off the trail, on the grass, to avoid shooting mud splatter and making my calves look like a Jackson Pollock.

Looking down, I saw that I’d been scampering through a fair bit of poison ivy, and felt a temper tantrum coming on. I had no towels in the car. I had to put my wet butt directly on the seat. On the way home, I channeled my inner three year-old, and threw a temper tantrum. I made a point of sighing loudly. I sighed when my legs got my car seat dirty. I sighed when I had to keep the window open to keep the car from fogging, and rain drops splattered inside. I sighed doubly loudly when I realized we had not eaten any lunch, and I was hungry, and we were going out to dinner in a few hours so there was no point in eating when we got home.

“What’s up?” Colin asked. “Are you just being upset right now?

“Yes!” I said. And started laughing.

“First, we wash off the shoes,” he said. “Then we eat a light snack. Then shower, then dinner. It’ll all work out.”

We ate dinner at the Chef’s Hat in Ephraim (seriously Ephraim, get  a grip and start serving alcohol). I ordered a strawberry lemonade. It was a wonderful light red, with seeds floating at the top, garnished with the lemon. And it tasted just as lovely as it looked. Like a summer’s day.

They started us with a bread basket – 2 pieces of buttered, toasted rosemary bread, 2 of a spicy, Cajun bread, also toasted. Then we split a fresh and fruity pumpkin & pear soup, a southwest salad with baby greens, Cajun shrimp, rice, beans, sour cream and guacamole (more perfectly seasoned, toasted bread). Our entrée (which we also split) was a Lousianna-style pasta with Andouille sausage, chicken, mushrooms, red bell peppers and a cream sauce. The portions were plentiful, and the service was prompt but not pushy.

Add a post-dinner glass of red wine, a John Hiatt concert and the Viking Sundae at Not Licked Yet, and you’ve got yourself the perfect evening.


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